Emerald Playground’s name was inspired by its location on Jewel Avenue. The roadway was given its name because streets north of what is now Queens Boulevard were at one time given names in alphabetical order. Jewel Avenue, formerly known as Jewel Street, ran next to Kelvin Road, now 69th Road.
Originally, each Queens’ community chose their street names and there was no borough-wide, organized street classification system. In 1911, it was decided that the roadways would be numbered with avenues, roads, and drives running from east to west and streets, lanes, and places running from north to south. However, when Queens adopted the plan, the name Jewel Avenue remained unchanged for reasons that remain unclear. Jewel Avenue originally ended at 112th Street. In the 1920s, the roadway was further developed, extending eastward to the Pomonok Country Club, now the Electchester Co-op. In preparation for the 1939 World’s Fair, Jewel Avenue was extended to its present terminus west of the Grand Central Parkway.
Emeralds are a form of the mineral beryl, which consists of the chemical aluminum beryllium silicate. On its own, beryl is colorless, but emeralds obtain their green color from a small amount of chromium. Their green color also makes the stones a fitting choice for park names, as Central Park creator Fredrick Law Olmstead (1822-1903) created an “Emerald Necklace” of parks in Boston. Parks Commissioner Robert Moses (1888-1981) also created his own “Emerald Necklace,” Kissena Corridor Park in Queens.
P.S. 200 Playground was opened as a Jointly Operated Playground between NYC Parks and the Department of Education on October 15, 1954. The site was renamed Jewel Playground in 1985, and was subsequently changed to Emerald. In 2000, this property was renovated and today the site contains a comfort station, spray shower, one full basketball court and four half courts, handball courts, play equipment, and picnic tables that can be enjoyed by residents of Jewel Avenue and the surrounding area.